Revive a Smile was launched in 2011 by Dr Assil Russell to help mend the smiles of Kiwis who can’t afford a trip to the dentist. They include people without homes, victims of domestic violence, refugee migrants, low income adults and the elderly.
Thanks to funding from the Southern Cross Health Trust, the charity set up New Zealand’s first and only mobile charity dental clinic in November 2016. Since then, Dr Russell and her team of volunteer dental professionals have been travelling to areas of high need.
The mobile clinic provides treatments such as comprehensive oral exams, restorations, root canals, removable dentures, and surgical extractions. Patients are also taught about dental health and hygiene and given health packs.
Revive a Smile fits with the Trust’s vision of making healthcare more accessible and has helped more than 10,000 people in need.
Winsome Cameron was one of Revive a Smile’s first patients in Kaeo, Northland. The single mother of two was taken under the wing of Dr Russell to be trained as a dental nurse and is now part of the mobile dental clinic team.
Winsome (centre) is pictured with Assil (left) and Seven Sharp journalist Gill Higgins (right), who reported on Revive a Smile's Kaeo campaign.
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